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Shell Factory Easter attracts more than 500 kids

By Staff | Apr 7, 2015

Throughout North Fort Myers, area restaurants and other businesses shared in the holiday spirit with Easter egg hunts, buffets and other fun activities for children and families.

The Shell Factory had kids in mind when it held its second annual Easter celebration Sunday and found a huge crowd of children and parents ready to partake in the fun.

More than 500 children were on hand, more than double from last year, said Rick Tupper, CFO and marketing director at the Shell Factory, who took part in three separate Easter egg hunts, had a kid’s themed Easter buffet, and got their picture taken with the Easter Bunny.

Tupper said many who came were local first-timers, which is exactly the kind of people the historic destination has tried to attract.

“The Fun Park was open, the store was busy and we had a kid friendly buffet inside with the Easter Bunny,” Tupper said. “It was huge fun, and there were a lot of people here who weren’t before so we got new people here and I think we’ll have lots of repeat business.”

During the Easter egg hunt, the children were separated into groups with maximum ages of 5, 8 and 12. Roughly 5,500 eggs were strewn throughout the golf course, all with candy and other trinkets.

Larry Wells played the Easter Bunny, and said everything went well and everyone enjoyed themselves tremendously, even though he was hot.

“Things get better and we grow and we learn from our previous events. We’ll be better next year,” Wells said.

While there were many first-timers at the event, there were also more hardcore Shell Factory fans such as Anna Dwyer, who brought her mother, Denise, and three daughters.

Dwyer, who moved here from Las Vegas six months ago, said she comes to the Shell Factory every week or so to see the animals in the Nature Park (she bought a season pass) and that the Easter celebration was another excuse to ring the kids for some fun.

“The Easter celebration was really good. They managed things great, but they had fun and got the thrill of the hunt and the warmth of their parents,” Dwyer said. “They are here for the children and animals.”

Tupper said through the midway point of the fiscal year, the Shell Factory is experiencing yet another double-digit growth year. Revenues are up 11 percent from last year.

“We’re trying to drive that to 15 percent, but the pie gets bigger every year. Double-digit growth for three years is unbelievable,” Tupper said. “We keep hammering away at a family entertainment center and locals during the offseason.

The zip line, which was installed just last year, has had 18,000 rides and is poised to pay for itself within a year, Tupper said.

The Shell Factory wasn’t the only place for holiday fun. Marinatown Yacht Harbor had its own Easter egg hunt and bonnet contest Saturday, with more than 1,000 eggs for kids 9 years old and under.

The Nauti Parrot Tiki Hut had a special Easter menu with bourbon glazed ham, mashed sweet potatoes, honey-glazed carrots and Creme Bruelle. Dale’s Dockside Restaurant and Tiki had multiple meat-carving stations, salads and desserts.